Waldorf Schools as an Alternative
Waldorf schools are independent hands-on, group-learning environments that are based on the teachings of Austrian thinker Rudolf Steiner. The first school was founded in Germany in 1919 and now there are approximately 900 Waldorf Schools around the world.
"Rudolf Steiner believed that schooling must engage a child's heart and hands as well as the head," says Sharon Vanderslice, communications director of the Waldorf School in Lexington, Mass. "For this reason, Waldorf schools infuse all academic subjects with artistic and practical work."
Students may learn their times tables, for instance, by marching, clapping, and singing them in a circle. Fifth graders studying the history of ancient Greece will often reenact the original Greek pentathlon.
Classrooms focus on teacher-directed instruction and are best suited for children who enjoy hands-on work and who are able to learn in a group setting. In a Waldorf environment, developing a child's emotional and ethical sense is as important as developing the mind.
Schools are generally K-8 and are nonreligious based. Tuition varies between $11,000 to $14,000 per year. U.S. schools are accredited by the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America. For more information, visit the association's Web site.